Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
VINCENT KOMPANY’S elevation to take over as the player-manager of Anderlecht, Belgium’s most successful football club in European competitions, means the iconic former Manchester City captain now has the biggest influence that will shape the future of Warriors’ talismanic skipper Knowledge Musona.
The 33-year-old Kompany, fresh from guiding Manchester City to an historic domestic treble in which they won the English Premiership, FA Cup and League Cup, announced yesterday he had played his last game for the Citizens at Wembley on Saturday.
Manchester City hammered Watford 6-0 in the FA Cup final to become the first club to win the three major domestic trophies in English football and Kompany revealed he had brought down the curtain on his career at the club.
Kompany’s move to take over at Anderlecht will have a direct bearing on the club future of Musona who reverted to being an Anderlecht player following the expiry of his loan deal at Belgian side Lokeren, who were relegated from the country’s top-flight league this season.
The 28-year-old Zimbabwe captain, who led his country to the 2019 AFCON finals as the Warriors leading goal-scorer during the qualifiers, and one of the most lethal marksmen on the continent, was loaned out to Lokeren after a difficult initiation into the Anderlecht system.
Coach Hein Vanhaezebrouck didn’t believe in Musona and forced the deal for the Zimbabwean to be sent out on loan.
However, the gaffer was sacked in December, after the Musona loan deal had been agreed to by Anderlecht and Lokeren a week earlier, and was replaced by Dutchman Fred Rutten.
However, the Dutch coach failed to provide the spark the club desperately needed and was also fired last month after just three months in charge.
Now, Kompany will have to make the call whether to retain Musona at the club or push elsewhere, either on loan, or on a permanent deal.
The Zimbabwe skipper is a firm favourite of the club’s owner, billionaire businessman Marc Coucke, who took him from KV Oostende to Anderlecht when he left the former club to complete his takeover of Belgium’s iconic football team.
Musona impressed Couke when he starred for Oostende and the businessman expected him to make a difference at Anderlecht, but things didn’t go according to plan because the coach didn’t believe in the Smiling Assassin.
However, rather than dump him, Couke believed Musona could be helped by a loan spell at Lokeren and, now, Kompany will have to make the big call.
Kompany is no stranger to Anderlecht after arriving at the club as a six-year-old before moving to Hamburg in Germany as a 22-year-old.
After joining in the summer of 2008, and taking over as captain three years later, Kompany led Manchester City to four league titles, including in his first season as the skipper, which ended 44 years of waiting for the league title by the Citizens who, until then, had lived in the shadow of their city rivals United.
He also won two FA Cups and four League Cups during his successful stay at Manchester City who have been the dominant club in their city since Alex Ferguson left his job as manager of Manchester United.
Shortly, after revealing he would be leaving City, Kompany followed it up with the message he would be joining his boyhood club Anderlecht as the player/manager for the next three seasons.
‘’The Prince is back,’’ Anderlecht announced on their Twitter account yesterday as they welcomed a player who joined them as a six-year-old before leaving for the Bundesliga to join Hamburg at the age of 22.
Kompany spent 11 years at City and made 360 appearances for the club.
“I choose to be grateful for the past but remain ambitious and driven for the future,’’ he wrote on his Facebook page. “For the next three years, I will take up the role of Player-Manager of RSC Anderlecht, Belgium’s finest.
“This may come as a surprise to you. It’s the most passionate yet rational decision I’ve ever made.
‘’As a footballer, I was born and raised at RSC Anderlecht. Since the age of six, I have been one with that club. A history of 34 league titles, they are second to none.
‘’The background to this story — Belgian entrepreneur Marc Coucke acquired the club from the Vanden Stock family in December 2017.
‘’What followed was a post take-over setback for a club that seemed robust but proved fragile. Although the take-over triggered a positive new vibe, sporting results did not follow.
‘’I stopped at their training grounds on my way to international duty last year, just to say hello. Coucke, the chairman, and Sports Director Michael Verschueren asked my opinion regarding the difficult situation the club was in.
‘’I shared my thoughts and listened to their vision for the future: ambitious, courageous and determined to get back to number one. I offered my help, no strings attached, should they need it.
‘’Later on in the season, newly-appointed Technical Director Frank Arnesen joined and we organised some technical sessions on how to build a strong playing identity based on attractive, attacking football.
‘’RSCA has a tradition of having fantastic youth. You could say they have the past and the future, but struggle with the present. Not so long ago, I took a call from RSC Anderlecht.’’
Then, he revealed, he was offered a job at his boyhood club.
‘’Quite unexpectedly, they offered me the position of Player-Manager. Michael and Frank explained to me in detail how they saw it working in practice,’’ wrote Kompany.
‘’They had thought it through.
‘’Coucke, the owner, pledged full support: time, budget, framework, staff, facilities. I was left not only impressed, but also intrigued by this sign of confidence in me.
‘’It got me thinking. The end of this season couldn’t be more memorable. I have lived the dream here. I have learned so much the last three years.
‘’From an incredible manager, Pep Guardiola reignited my love for the game. I’ve witnessed, participated, analysed, absorbed, studied.
‘’Man City play the football I want to play. It is the football I want to teach and to see played. I have decided to take up the challenge at RSC Anderlecht.’’